Israel to begin three-week nationwide lockdown on Rosh Hashanah eve

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2020

Israelis have been blaming Netanyahu for opening up the country too soon after the first lockdown in order to restart the economy and for being susceptible to pressure by interest groups in managing the crisis.

The Israeli government says it will impose a nationwide lockdown later this week due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second- wave surge of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

"Our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and lower morbidity", Netanyahu said in a nationally broadcast statement.

The move comes just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year and the high holidays.

That prompted Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who represents ultra-Orthodox Jews, to resign from the government earlier Sunday.

Outdoor events will be restricted to 20 individuals, while indoor events will be restricted to 10.

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Movement will be limited to 500 metres from home and restaurants will be closed to on-site dining. In addition, he said, "If we obey the rules, we will definitely be able to conquer the corona".

He said that the lockdown will exact a heavy price on everyone in the country.

"Our goal is to stop the increase and lower morbidity", Netanyahu said in a nationally broadcast statement, adding that he acknowledges that "these steps come at a hard price for all of us".

Israel, with a population of nine million, has recorded 155,604 Covid-19 cases, including 1,119 deaths.

"It is an injustice and disregard for hundreds of thousands of citizens, ultra-Orthodox, religious and traditional", who would seek to pray in synagogues and have family meals, Litzman said. Almost one-fifth of the labor force remains out of work even though most of the economy has been open for months.

Lauding the peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to be signed on Tuesday, Netanyahu stated that the cooperation with the two Arab countries would be a boon to the economies of all three, each of which had been dealt a blow by the pandemic.

Cases in May reportedly rose from five confirmed infections to more than 4,000 over the last week, according to the outlet, bringing new infections per capita close to the worst levels in the world.

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